Former President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, has urged the Federal Government to stop paying lip service to the health sector.
Enabulele who is also the Vice-President, Commonwealth Medical Association, said that to reposition the country’s health sector, there is a need to urgently implement the National Health Act, NHA, amend the NHIS Act, strengthen the national health system (public and private), reform the governance system as well as curtail outward medical tourism among others.
Delivering a keynote address during the Annual Award/Symposium of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, with the theme: “Challenges In Nigeria’s Healthcare Delivery System And Solutions,”where he was awarded best Media Friendly President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Enabulele noted that the performance of the country’s healthcare delivery system remains unpleasant due to several conspiring factors and challenges.
He said poor governance and political commitment to the health of the citizens remains one fundamental undermining factor that has led to the sorry state of Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system. “This poor governance and political commitment which largely results from a poor understanding of the economic importance of health and healthcare by most political and public officers at all levels of government, can be seen in poor budgeting for health, poor utilisation of Nigeria’s health facilities and outward medical tourism.
He further lamented that with a humongous capital flight out of Nigeria, to the tune of well over $1 billion as at 2013, with the Indian economy and hospitals securing over 50 per cent of the capital outflow, it was shameful to see some of the elected political leaders and public officers stay on queues in foreign hospitals for basic medical consultation and health checkup, instead of adequately investing in quality health infrastructure and services within their jurisdictions.
He, however, posited that with the successful berthing of the National Health Act, Nigeria now has a historic significant opportunity to improve her healthcare delivery system and attain Universal Health Coverage predicated on the constitutional imperatives of social justice, equity and egalitarianism.
He stressed the need to consistently organize advocacy and awareness programmes through which the political leaders and policy makers will be educated and re-educated on the significant nexus between health,productivity and the economic growth and wealth of their communities.
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